Archive for June, 2009

Polar opposite: a tale of two rides

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

I met up with Mr Morley for a day on the Downs. The words below, pilfered from his corner confirmed what I saw as he nailed the single-track like he was on rails and climbed like an oddly shaped, but efficient mountain goat:

‘the first steep confirmed my legs were good, it all felt a bit detached to be honest, just floating up the climb, the sensation continued on the climb to the top of Leith Hill, amazing, down the other side and the climb back over the top the nasty techy singletrack one despatched in the middle ring, no hurt no pain just gliding?’

Things weren’t so lovely in camp Allison.

There was no indication at the start of the misery to come. None at all. We went straight to Leith from Holmbury rather than the usual circuitous route. My legs thought they done the harder yards and continued in their misbelief.

Half way up High Ashes I waved the flag, sat down, ate half a Torq bar. Crawled miserably up to the Tower. The other half went down in desperation. Things picked up a little and reached something beyond mere survival. Summer lightening et al were despatched, ditto the climb back to the top, albeit slowly. And that was it.

From then on I trailed in Raoul’s kind and ever-patient wake. Weighed down by anvils, with legs full of lead ‘n vinegar, drenched in sweat of Hunter S Thompson preportions. Leaden, empty, just wanting to be put out of my misery.

Raoul told me take ‘a moment’. Immediate and grateful collapse face down into the grass. Unable to move, or focus on anything except the suffering going on inside my shell. He’d ridden a climb with aplomb that I’ve no doubt struggled up but never walked not once, not even in the broken years. I hadn’t even tried. I couldn’t.

Not a rider, just a passenger and a sodden, lumpen and sorry one at that. And an insult, an insult to quiet dry trails, who’d murmoured soft nothing’s, beckoned and enticed, laid out their lovelies in anticipation, deserving some justice. They got nothing from me. I owe them and my bike an apology.


Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Funny old day Sunday. I woke up to blue skies and sunshine but with only one thought in my mind and the utter conviction that it was the right time but I procrastinated and dithered. I’d missed the moment and I knew it.

So I fussed and flapped and got myself in a right old two and eight. Then it came to me that although I was tired, dog tired with quietly throbbing legs that I needed to ride and that I’d somehow salvage something from the day. So I grabbed the courier bag and crosser and set off to do some errands. And I was right. It was hot, the skies and sunlight were postively Mediterranean. Everywhere looked and felt ‘unfamiliar’. Slow and sophorific like the world and it’s contents were saturated, slowed and heavy from the sun. And it wasn’t just the rose tinted glow from wearing shades. The usual trails felt different, looked different, the folk I met were different. I felt like a tourist in my local town which was quiet, slow and strangely lovely even in it’s ugliness.

Was it special or was in just in my head? Who knows, but I’m glad I made the effort just to get out there and wander, explore it a little. Moments like that are to be savoured. Supped slowly to let the flavours resonate. I have the luxury of time, time to take that moment, cup it in my hands and wonder at it. For that I’m grateful (and quite possibly barking).